I'm FAR from an expert and the guys around here who can play circles around me like Rick, JP, Mooh, Mark Clark....an endless kind of list.......but I do have a good ear for sound and I know construction and woods and all of those things and I love looking inside soundboxes and the like.
Tacoma has probably improved some since this thread started and they're making some good stuff. Again, guitars that you like are the guitars that will be with you. Sounds nuts, but when you find something you like, brand kinda' goes out the window.....if you let it. I have a "Lawsuit Takemine" that's the better of any D-18 and I still look at that "Takemine" on the peghead and kinda' wish it said Martin. Truth is though, I wouldn't part with her if it said Scnickelfritz.
That said, if you're really shopping a bit, probably the biggest thing outside of sound that you're looking for is that neck width and shape huh? How are you on Martin necks as a means of comparison? Just curious I guess. tell us what YOU think of the Tacoma when you play it...and Shaun plays it for you....and plays a couple of others for you....Do your own little blind test. Have a good look at the finish overall and then look at details, like the neck joint and take a mirror to the innards. Any glue you can see? Does it have a finished (not lacquered of course) look inside as though it's been sanded and planed smoothly? Look at the kerfing for instance and see if the glue is evident and is it straight..or just "almost" straight? Look at the top and bottom both........Play it and see if it feels right to you....Does it fit?
Now come back here and let us know!!! BTW, does Shaun carry Blue Ridge? They're made by the Kentucky Mandolin folks and are really boomers with beautiful craftsmanship and CHEAP!